8 Oct 2002

Calls in Fiji to get money back from officials in farm scam

8:24 am on 8 October 2002

Three senior officials of the Fiji agriculture ministry implicated in the 13-million US dollar farming assistance scam have been named as officers who should be surcharged.

The three, who include the suspended head of the agriculture ministry Peniasi Kunatuba and two senior officials, are named in the auditor-general Eroni Vatuleka's report for last year.

In condemning officers who defrauded or misused taxpayers' money, Mr Vatuleka says civil servants responsible for these activities should be surcharged and disciplined.

Meanwhile, Mr Kunatuba who has filed a high court challenge against his suspension and alleges that money from the scam was used to buy votes in last year's general eelction, has himself been sued.

In papers filed in the high court, the government is claiming 8-point-5 million US dollars from Mr Kunatuba.

The case is yet to be heard.